Kruger National Park has gone to the dogs

There are said to be over 500 rhinos killed every year in the Kruger National Park, which is far too much in any man’s language.

That is why there is now a Canine Unit established at the world famous park which is doing very well. The purpose of the dogs is to smell out the poachers, track them down, and have them arrested, charged and jailed.

The dogs play an important part in ridding the park of poachers.

This was told to the Florida Hiking and Adventure Club who met at the Golden Reef  Road Running Club on Tuesday October 30.

After discussing the activities of the club, such as 32 hikers who took part in the Melville Koppies hike two days prior and who were joined by some hikers from the Melville Hiking Club.

The last weekend hike of the year is at Letsibogo, Bela-Bela, where the accommodation is said to be very good with excellent facilities.

When Jimmy Tellor, the Gauteng President of the San Parks Honorary Rangers, came back to the lectern, he spoke of the work done by the Crime Unit at the Kruger Park and some other National Parks but it is only at the Kruger Park where the dogs have a fully-fledged camp.

The tracker dogs have a working life span of about seven to nine years. They are then retired and so is the game ranger who is their handler.

The idea is to convert the anti-rhino poaching unit into a complete dedicated anti-poaching unit for all animals. The dogs are especially bred for the purpose of tracking poachers, they are cross-bred between Bloodhounds and Dobermans. The other type of dog used in this field of work is the Belgian Malinois – family of the German Shepherd.

The cross-breed dogs are trained to track spoor up to 18 hours old.

When asked about using drones instead of helicopters due to sound, Tellor said it costs around R160 000 for the heat-seeking drones.

Rod Knight

www.sportslife.co.za